Rally News

Abiteboul wants Hyundai to be the “Red Bull Racing of WRC”

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

The former Renault Formula 1 boss is in the process of transforming the Hyundai squad to turn the team into a title winning force.

Since taking over as team principal, Abiteboul has recruited former Volkswagen WRC and Williams F1 technical director Francois Xavier Demaison to head its technical department.

Last month, Hyundai announced that it had signed 2019 world champion Ott Tanak from M-Sport to bolster its 2024 driver line-up alongside Thierry Neuville. This will be Tanak’s second spell with the team after scoring five wins driving an i20N across 2020-2022.

Speaking to WRC.com, Abiteboul has now outlined his grand vision for Hyundai taking inspiration from the Red Bull F1 team and Verstappen following their dominant run to a drivers’ and manufacturers’ double in the last two campaigns.

“In my own history in motorsport, I’ve always been inspired by the organisations that are all about a winning strategy, and everything is driven by the results,” said Abiteboul.

“I’m thinking about Red Bull and, frankly, if Ott was in Formula 1, I am pretty sure that he would be driving for Red Bull Racing.

“That’s the inspiration that I want to carry for Hyundai – I would like that we can be the Red Bull Racing of the WRC, and Ott could be our Max [Verstappen].”

Photo by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Hyundai is yet to guide a driver to a world rally title although the team claimed back-to-back manufacturer crowns in 2019 and 2020.

As previously reported, work is already underway to improve its i20N Rally1 car for next season. The team has elected to use its October development joker window to focus on improvements to its reliability which will be debuted early next year.

The team will then focus on performance upgrades as it bids to reel in current WRC pacesetter Toyota, which has won the last three manufacturers’ and drivers’ crowns.

“We have done what we need to do. We still have the homologation to pass which is a bit later, so we know very well what we want to do and we have a good idea of what we want to do in 2024,” Abiteboul told Motorsport.com.

“The 2024 jokers are well in advance in terms of development so FX has got his hands on the technical strategy.”

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